Six days around Central Java,
heartland of civilization
Yogyakarta, Prambanan, Borobudur, Merapi, Dieng Plateau
Javanese culture is the product of a long and complicated history and a mix of many different influences. The great oriental religions have all left an indelible mark on the island of Java and the central region has been its cultural heartland for more than a thousand years. Until today Yogyakarta is the undisputed cultural capital of Indonesia and the principal repository of its heritage. It is a thriving center of classical Javanese arts such as batik, ballet, music, poetry and puppet theater. Fiercely independent and protective of its ancient customs, Yogya and its surrounding area remains an Ďautonomous regioní within the Republic of Indonesia, ruled by a hereditary Sultan who is the secular Provincial Governor at the same time.
The advanced civilizations that blossomed one after the other in Java were made possible by highly efficient agricultural practices developed since ancient times. The islandís exceptional fertility and rainfall allowed the development of wet-field rice cultivation, which required a highly sophisticated level of cooperation between villages. Out of these village alliances, small kingdoms were formed. The Medang Kingdom in the early 8th century produced the Hindu temples on the Dieng Plateau. Around the 9th century the Sailendra dynasty embraced Mahayana Buddhism and both the Borobudur, the biggest Buddhist temple in the world and the Hindu Prambanan complex date back to the same period. By the end of the 16th century, Islam surpassed Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion in Java and two hundred years later the region was under Dutch control. In spite of its dramatic history Central Java never lost its original culture and tradition. In the Sultanís Palace which has been at the heart of civic life since the mid 1700's we find a clear insight into the capacity of the Javanese to assimilate seemingly opposing influences. Yogyakarta is a place of tremendous cultural and religious diversity.
Arrival in Yogyakarta (No Meal)
Meeting service at Adisucipto International Airport and transfer to the hotel of your choice. The
remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Top Indonesia has selected and recommends the following hotels:
The Phoenix Hotel
The Dusun Village Inn
Day two: Yogyakarta and Prambanan (B,D)
In the morning we take you to visit the 17th century Sultanís Palace (Kraton) and the Taman Sari Water Castle, the site of a royal garden of the sultanate, built mid- 18th century. We also take you to the silver smithsí village of Kotagede and visit a traditional Batik home industry. You return to the hotel for a lunch on your own account.
In the late afternoon we take you to the Prambanan temple complex, that most remarkable example of Hindu temple architecture. We go around the temple grounds by horse carriage and visit the principal towers with their elaborate Ramayana bas-reliefs. Then we proceed to an open theater within the temple compound to witness a classical dance performance. As the final act there is an authentic Javanese dinner.
Day three: Yogyakarta - Magelang (B,L)
After breakfast, we check out from the hotel and drive to the traditional village of Candirejo. Here you will be able to immerse yourself in an authentic Javanese village atmosphere and learn about the daily life of the Javanese, their farming methods, plantation resources and ceremonies. You will witness several art performances and if you wish you may participate in some of the social activities.
In the afternoon we proceed to the Magelang area near Borobudur and check you in to the hotel
of your choice.
Our recommendations are:
Day four: Borobudur- Merapi- Elo Fun Rafting (B,L)
Wake up early (at approximately 5:30 AM) to witness the sun rise on the world famous Borobudur temple. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
In the afternoon we explore Kaliadem, a strategic spot to view the Merapi from a close distance. This is the most active volcano in Indonesia and last erupted on November 30, 2010. Then we take a walk down to the Elo River to set off on a delightful rafting trip of about 2-2.5 hours. The Elo River offers Grade II-III pure fun rafting which does not require any special training or experience.
Day five: Dieng Plateau (B,L)
On this fifth day we will take you through villages and areas of rice paddies to an ancient pilgrimís retreat in Central Java. Our destination is Dieng, a lofty volcanic plateau 2000 meter above sea level that was considered a sacred place by the ancient Javanese Hindus because of its relative proximity to the heavens. (The word Dieng comes from Sanskrit and means ďthe Abode of the GodsĒ). Between the 8th century and the 13th century, hundreds of temples were built here but today only eight are left. These remaining temples resemble those of Prambanan, but on a smaller scale. They are set between mist-shrouded steep hills and at an altitude of 2 kilometers it is much cooler than in the surrounding lowlands. The Dieng plateau is in fact the floor of a huge caldera complex so to get to the temples we pass between active volcanoes and travel through a dramatic landscape of sulfur springs, hot geysers and mineral lakes. Driving through the tea and tobacco plantations of the Sindoro-Sumbing valley offers totally different but equally spectacular scenery. We have our lunch at the best restaurant in the area.
Day six: Borobudur - Departure (B)
Breakfast at the Hotel. At the appropriate time your tour guide will meet you at the lobby for the transfer to Adisucipto international. Driving time from Borobudur to the airport is about one and a half hour.